•Oil firm promises to sustain programme
Preparation National High School, Benin, Edo State on Friday, October 26, 2018, emerged winners of the 2018 edition of the annual Seplat Pearls Quiz competition.
Representatives of the school beat students of Lawrence Prentice Academy, Asaba, Delta State at the finals of the competition, which held at the Unity Event Centre at the Government House in Asaba, Delta State.
Earlier that morning, students of the University Preparatory Secondary School, Benin, Edo State had outscored their peers from Marbel Hill School, Okpanam, Delta State to clinch the third place prize at the event put together by Nigeria’s leading indigenous oil and gas exploration and production company, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc. in conjunction with its JV partners the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
The winning school got a N7m (Seven million naira) cash prize which will be used to prosecute a project in the school, while each of the students went home with the sum of N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira each.) Lawrence Prentice Academy got N3m (Three million naira) prize money while the participating students got the sum of N75, 000 (Seventy-five thousand naira) each. Winners of the third place prize, University Preparatory Secondary School, Benin, Edo State got a N1m (One million naira) cash prize for their performance, while each student was rewarded with the sum of N50, 000 (Fifty Thousand naira)
Welcoming students and distinguished guests to the event, General Manager, External Affairs and Communications for Seplat, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, said that the programme, which is in its seventh year, has been very impactful on the educational careers of students in Delta and Edo states, which represent the company’s host and impact communities.
According to Dr. Nwachuku “the programme directly impacts academic performance of the students as it has been shown that in preparing for this competition, students are encouraged to study their syllabus extensively. As a matter of fact, the questions are drawn from the secondary school syllabus in conjunction with the teachers. It also provides a platform for public and private secondary schools to interact, share ideas and experiences.”
While thanking the Delta State Government for hosting the event at such a conducive environment in the Government House and Edo State for hosting it in the past, she reiterated Seplat’s commitment to partnering with the two states in continuing to build the confidence and capacities of students to excel in their examinations.
The Operations Director of Seplat, Mr. Effiong Okon, who represented Seplat CEO, Mr. Austin Avuru at the event, said that it was a constant discussion at Seplat to find out more ways in which the company can further give to its host communities.
He said: “The Pearls Quiz programme is one of Seplat’s CSR initiatives, which we take very seriously not just because it inspires excellence in secondary school children in public and private schools in our host states but also because it addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 4.”
He told those present that education was important to Seplat because if you get education right every other thing will fall into place and that is why they spend a lot of time at Seplat strategising to make the Pearls Quiz competition work and hence will keep expanding it.
He also added it was important to recognise the NPDC, which has been Seplat’s partner from the beginning.
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, speaking through the Honourable Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, who stood in for him at the event, thanked Seplat for instituting the competition.
“There is no doubt that Seplat will through this competition reward excellence, enhance unity and motivation, while restoring confidence in the nation’s education sector. It is commendable that over the last seven years, Seplat has successfully held this competition and has been awarding scholarships in secondary and tertiary schools,” Governor Okowa said.
He said, governments all over the world invest massively in education for their citizenry and that his administration is committed to continuing to improve on education at all levels.
This year, all the teachers who prepared and accompanied the students were presented valuable gifts for their effort. Even Marble Hill School, which came fourth, took home prizes while each participating student got N10,000 (Ten thousand naira).
The Seplat Pearls Quiz challenge started in 2012 out of the determination of the company and its JV partner to inspire excellence in secondary school children in public and private schools in their host states.
The company has through the Pearls Quiz initiative provided scholarships to several students, implemented projects in over eight schools, given out four brand new 16-seater buses as well as consolation prizes to the last seven schools every year since inception.